Monday, May 15, 2017

Commander's Corner/Know Your Enemy: Crix Madine

Apologies for the lateness of my getting this up, but it's been a busy weekend.  My sister graduated and got her PhD, so I attended that (and read 2 different X-wing books, because I don't care about 1299/1300 people attending that thing, sorry).  In any case, let's get this Commander review started with Crix Madine, the Rebellion's General from Wave 4.  Then onwards to wave 5!
It was 1983! Everyone's hair looked like that!

Basics of the card
As always, throwing up the card as a start.
Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit brighter.....
So when you turn, you turn HARDER, better, faster, stronger.  Get your Tokyo Drift on!  What this actually means is that you can get your ships into specific spaces where no one thought you could get to.  Let's take a look at a simple example below.

First, we have the basic MC30 turning pattern, using navigation to add one click at the first joint.  Simple, easy, turns to the left like we like for our attack run.  If we use Madine's ability, we get the below picture, however.

Yes, move closer....

And that's JUST the part about adding two clicks! (Specifically, in the first joint AGAIN in the above example).  If we go even further, adding it into the first joint, with an extra click in the second joint from a nav token, we can get THIS picture (2 clicks, 2 clicks, 2 clicks - Madine for 2, one on the card and one from a token, and two on the card, respectively).
135 degree turn! Madness! Madine-ness!
We can get almost ANYWHERE we need to with Madine, striking out of the darkness and hitting ships when they thought they were safe.  You can be like a mugger out of a dark alley, killing Batman's parents before he can save them.  Or like Charlie Sheen on a tiger blood bender.
Or like Goldeen!  I'm going to run this "Een" joke into the ground here, so get used to it.
Why Play Him
Have you ever wanted to prey on your opponent's fears, make them unable to tell WHERE your next attack could be coming from? Have you ever wanted to make your opponent afraid to move, as you dart away from his best arcs and into his weaker, underdefended ones? Have you ever wanted to get the LMC80 to turn on a dime like a ship 2 base sizes smaller?
This is both physically possible and hitting that same ISD side arc both turns while never entering black dice range.  This should TERRIFY you.
What Madine is good at is striking AGAIN with ships that normally get one pass.  MC30s usually end up running hard and fast (with other commanders) through your opponent's wall of ships, firing once or twice and then trying to spend the rest of the game getting back into range, maybe firing again on turn 5-6.  BUT, with the Madine navigation ability, you can turn that MC30 around after hitting your opponent's ISD face and then get back into his side arc with it.  You jump from one arc into another, still able to hit his ships with yours, staying out of their best arcs while still firing with yours.  It's also a way of ensuring that you don't wander into those extra deadly arcs; Ackbar sides or ISD fronts for example.

Now, the original common "complaint" I saw from people is that Madine "isn't as good as Jerjerrod." You have to actually NAVIGATE instead of just taking it when needed to fix your turning issues.  Madine has two things going for him, though, as compared to Jerry, which ALSO helps steer you towards HOW you want to build your Madine lists.
Just use butter to turn faster, y'all!

First, many Rebellion ships are generally more maneuverable than their Imperial counterparts, especially at higher speeds.  CR90s and MC30s have several places in their navigation paths with 2 clicks (CR90s at the end in 3 and 4 speed, MC30s at speed 3), and the GR75 in general is more maneuverable than its Gozanti counterpart.  So while Jerjerrod lets you add in clicks at joint 1, they still either need to navigate to add in later clicks, or they're at the mercy of wherever their later path takes them.

Second, Madine lets you add clicks in WHEREVER you want, and with both the navigate command and navigate tokens.  Jerry gives you more speed for turning early, but he doesn't help further down the road.  It's a subtle thing, but it's important.  Jerjerrod lets you keep turning to be in a spot where you can keep your opponent in your sights, but Madine isn't about that.  Madine lets you turn where you need WHEN you need, in order to both maximize where you end up and where you attack.  You're trying to use Madine's ability to both stay out of trouble/bad arcs of your opponent's, and get into the best arcs to shoot (the undergunned ones).  Exploit his navigating ability to have your good arcs attack their ships at their best ranges while preventing them from hitting you.  Having a good head for distances/ranges and what needs to move when will help a LOT here.

Simply put, Madine lets you navigate until you don't need to navigate anymore.  Stay out of the bad arcs, stay out of bad (black dice) ranges of your opponent's, but be where you can put the hurt in on them.  Concentrate Fire, then pull a runner and get either back into the fight where you weren't expected to be or get gone before you get shot and die, remaining either out of range or in a terrible arc for them to fire from; ISD sides, HMC80 fronts/backs, etc.
Navigate until it's time to stop navigating - Dalton's original quote
The other issue that has popped up as of Wave 7 is quite simply that Raddus does a lot of what Madine does but better and cheaper by 4 points.  Madine used to make it so that you could turn your LMC80 sharper, getting it into a side arc of an ISD that wasn't expecting it there, preventing you from taking another front arc shot to the face of your LMC80.  However, now that I can just put the LMC80 in that side arc to start with, and I didn't have to take Cymoon fire on the way in? Or deal with trying to get Quad Battery Turrets to go off at the same time as getting into position?  I'm afraid I don't have a great counter-answer for that.  The one difference between Madine and Deadbeat Daddus is that when Raddus drops off the LMC80, he's done helping it.  Madine can keep you navigating and keep you in the game, turning more and more, and letting your LMC80 get to the best possible spot afterwards.  You ALSO don't have to worry about NOT deploying on top of squadrons or being forced to sub-optimally deploy your Large-based ship in a bad location.  It's up to you to determine if that's worth the 4 extra points Madine costs over Raddus for you.
Questions I have trouble answering

Madine is NOT an easy Commander to grasp, as the ships he uses can often overextend themselves or end up NOT navigating at the right time or navigating when they should have concentrated fire or used engineering, resulting in a dead ship on your own end, or an alive ship on your opponent's end.  However, if you CAN get him understood and used properly (I make no claims that I'm perfect with him), you can strike out of nowhere like a wraith in the night.  Slide that vibroblade into their kidneys, and make your opponent pay for not taking your navigating abilities seriously.

Common Ships/Builds/Ways to Run Him
The benefit of Madine is that all the Rebellion ships can make use of him. Want to build a weird plan with Nebulon B's and H1MC80s? Sure, turn on a dime like you can.  However, here's what I've found works best with him.
Sadly, the closest thing you can get to a Spyder is a MC30 going speed 4.  Has about the same results as it did for James, too.
LMC80: He comes with it, he makes it turn CRAZY good.  Add in Engine Techs for super fun times!*  Madine uses the LMC80 better than almost any other commander, I feel (again, see the previous Raddus discussion a few paragraphs above).  The various spots you can add the clicks in almost guarantees that you're going to end up where you WANT to be, not where they want you to be.  Get in the side arcs of big ships, smash the small ones, etc.

*Side note: you don't get the Madine benefit when you Engine Techs.  It's just the regular speed listed on the card, as you're not modifying it Jerjerrod style, and it happens AFTER the navigate portion, so you can't turn more than 1 click with it, just FYI.

CR90: I will fully admit, the first time I saw it, I didn't see the need for Madine.  How much more can you need to improve their turning? Then I played them and used them and it's so nice! Being able to use Madine for the nav token benefit to get an extra click on the turn when you're concentrating fire is SO HELPFUL that it's basically the same as getting to concentrate fire and navigate the same turn.  I know Truthiness over at Steel Command swears by Engine Tech CR90s, just navigating into exactly perfect spots with them and all sorts of extra clicks.

MC30: It's already a cruise missile that you use to smash other ships.  You spend a good amount of time navigating with it during the game, what if you were CRAZY good at navigating where you need to go? What if you could navigate so that you stay in range of that ISD you just shot?

Flotillas: Slicer Tools flotillas are great, and when they can get ANYWHERE, it's so nuts and fun.  Again, stay in arcs you want to stay in, stay out of bad ones.  Know your distances, let them come to you.

Assault Frigates: They love navigating, and the Spinal Armament Assault Frigate A's are just fun, throwing 3 red and a blue every which way.  My one complaint with them is that you can do a bit better of a job with it all by spending more points on a LMC80, and I can get a little more sure dice out of the LMC80 too.  However, you do you.

Hammerheads (untested): I very much like the idea of Hammerheads under Madine, as a token with him can give them the full Raider 2 click-2 click speed 2 navigational pattern.  Navigating them at speed 3 can get you some CRAZY good turning, ending up potentially more than 90 degrees from your starting angle if you wanted.  My concern, though, is that Hammerheads when navigating already navigate pretty well without Madine's ability, so; I'm not sure he's NEEDED.  You can also put the 2 clicks at speed 3, turning them into slightly better maneuvering CR90s, but again, I'm not sure you need to.  I haven't tested them with him yet, but when I do, I'll update this section.  For now, check out my linked Hammerheads article.

MC75: It steers like an Assault Frigate and wants to double arc as much as possible.  It's got better dice control (when you tack Leading Shots onto it, of course!) and is slightly more survivable than an Assault Frigate, so it's definitely worth a look with him.

Anything He Doesn't Like?
He is the wiener of the two, really.
Peltas and the H1MC80: They work FINE, but they generally don't WANT to be Navigating every turn.  They're both speed 2, and they can navigate well.  But with only 2 arcs, you're not really getting into the right spot you NEED to stay alive, the Pelta especially.  Both can take Engine Techs, but I'm hesitant to recommend them currently.  Speed 2/fake speed 3 of a max is hard to keep alive and out of trouble like you want to.

Nebulon B's: it's almost the reverse of the Pelta and H1MC80.  You don't WANT to navigate early on, haha!  Nebulons live by staying in the back and flinging dice from a distance.  They navigate later on to get out of the bad spots they're in, and their slower speeds are not usually helpful for turning significant amounts.  I can see the benefit of throwing Salvation in with Spinal Armaments just to be concentrating fire and hitting for crazy dice from all over the map, but here's my thought for you: what's easier, 51 points for a TRCR90, or 51 points for a basic Nebulon B without a single upgrade on it to start? Hence why I say don't take them.  I usually end up building Madine lists running out of points, so I need those upgrades elsewhere.  And thus, Nebulons end up getting cut for me.

Squadrons: You'll notice that Madine's ability helps ships turn better.  It doesn't help them push squadrons better, it doesn't help them engineer better.  And several traditionally seen versions of the ships I'm saying not to take above (Yavaris, Peltas...) fall into squadron pusher roles.  I'm not saying don't take ANY squadrons (you might have a bad time....), just don't go heavy into them... or even medium!  And keep in mind that anything you take, you're either going to need to push, or you're going to need to get the jump on something with.  A-wings, YT-2400s, and E-wings are great.  YT-1300s, less so.  Intercept their fighters with your interceptors.**

**I have thoughts on fighting Rieekan Aces with Madine, but as A) no one runs the Aces here and B) I've currently put Madine on hold as I've rediscovered my loves of Ackbar, squadron builds, and Leia, so these will remain mostly theories for a later time.  My usual Math class textbook joke applies here, that I leave this as an exercise for the reader.

How Do I Fight Him?
I admit to having played games so hungry that I would have surrendered for food, yes
The ships he generally takes (MC30s, LMC80s, CR90s) are either lacking significant health, shields, or both, respectively.  Concentrate your firepower to take them out, or start chiseling away at the LMC80 before it can start repairing itself with engineering commands.  Just realize that if your opponent is smart (I do not claim to be this opponent, haha!) he'll run from the fight when it gets bad, hopefully above you on points before things get bad.  If a ship ever ends up in a wrong spot, punish your opponent for it as much as you can.  Shoot the LMC80 that strayed into black dice range, ram the CR90s that you can, etc.

You can also Slicer Tools away the navigation abilities of several of his ships.  As soon as that LMC80 is commanding squadrons instead of navigating, it's REALLY not going where it wants to this turn.  Exploit that and see what you can do.

Final Thoughts
Madine was a very fun commander that I definitely enjoyed playing, but Raddus came along and took away a LOT of Madine's usefulness.  I don't want to declare him USELESS, because if you know what you're doing with him you can shut down your opponent's list by just not being where they expect you to be.  But the question you'll need to ask yourself EVERY TIME when you play him is "What makes this list something that Raddus wouldn't be better used with instead?" (Probably MC30 spam lists or other such built around not HAVING a Large-based ship in your fleet!).  His role hasn't been eliminated, it's just become a lot more niche.  Practice with Madine, though, and I promise you'll be able to act like a SWAT team, taking out your opponent's ships before they can strike back.


  1. So I've gone back over the faq, and I can't find anything anywhere that says that Madine's ability can't benefit engine techs. In fact, I remember a while ago hearing that it can. Would anyone mind clarifying?

    1. It's due to how you resolve the navigate command. It applies to your current maneuver only. Engine Techs resolves AFTER your current maneuver, at which point your navigate dial has already been spent.